“I pledge to eliminate as many chemicals as possible from my cleaning drawer.”

For this year’s World Environment Day, the IPF launched a campaign highlighting what each one of us can do to help the environment. As a result, many creative ideas and pledges emerged on IPF‘s social media. But there is still a list of things everyone can do to make our planet greener.

Nearly two billion people worldwide drink water contaminated by chemical wastes from industrial discharges. Many cleaning products that we buy are non-degradable. And to make it worse, many of them are also petroleum-based. They pollute streams, rivers and the ocean.

Water pollution- Pixabay

Water pollution [Image credit: Pixabay]

Cleaning products can also cause health problems – some dry out and irritate skin and their toxic fumes can have serious effects. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health says that one third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic.

There are other ingredients in cleaning products that contribute to long-term health problems, including cancer and hormone disruption. Those chemicals interfere with the body’s natural chemical messages, either by blocking or mimicking the actions of hormones.

To sum it up, there are many reasons why we should ban certain products from our homes. To join the IPF’s campaign and prove that things can be done on a long run, Penelope Sonder, a young entrepreneur and freelance journalist, shares her recipes on how to make DIY green cleaning products.

1 ingredient window cleaner

  • Brew strong black tea. I use 3 bags of any black tea to 8oz boiling water
  • Steep and allow to fully cool
  • Transfer cleaner to spray bottle or dip cotton cloth into solution
  • Clean and buff

Did you know? The tannic acid in black tea acts as a cleaning agent to dissolve dirt and grease.

 Deodorising toilet cleaner

  • Mix ½ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup vinegar
  • Add 10 drops of essential lemon oil

Method: Pour mixture into toilet and scrub away.

Baking Soda kills viruses and also cleans, deodorises, brightens, and cuts through grease and grime.

Pure baking soda

Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, Pure- Castile Soap

All-purpose counter cleaner

  • Mix two equal parts of water and white vinegar
  • Add a few drops of essential lavender oil
  • Transfer cleaner to spray bottle

Did you know? Household vinegar contains acetic acid, a powerful antimicrobial that kills salmonella and E. coli bacteria.

Dish soap

  • Mix 1 cup liquid castile soap and 3 tablespoons of water
  • Add a few drops of lemon oil
  • Shake well and transfer dish soap to soap container

Top tip: Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soaps are a great vegan choice: they are made using pure coconut, olive, hemp, and jojoba oils. The result is a concentrated and completely biodegradable liquid soap that cleans gently, yet effectively.

Antibacterial all-purpose cleaner

  • Peel of 1 grapefruit (no flesh)
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • Grapefruit seed extract or tea tree oil
  • Mason jar

Method: Place the grapefruit peel in the jar, cover with vinegar and put the lid on. Let the mixture sit in a cool, dry place (cupboard works well) for about a week.

You will notice the vinegar will change colour and it will smell of grapefruit. Strain vinegar and transfer to a spray bottle. Top up with water and add 6 drops of grapefruit seed extract or tea tree oil.

It’s worth the wait: Soaking citrus peels in vinegar helps to extract a natural, powerful solvent found in citrus peels called limonene.

Did you know? Tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract are naturally antibacterial.

Mason Jar

DIY green cleaning products: Mason Jar

Air refresher

  • Baking Soda
  • 10 drops essential oil
  • a few dried rose petals (for decoration)
  • Mason Jar (poke some holes in the lid like an oversized salt shaker)

Method: Fill the jar to ¼ with Baking Soda, add your favourite essential oil and the rose petals and mix well. Put lid on and place in room. Shake every now and then for a heavenly, natural scent.

Top tip: Instead of just masking bad smells, this air refresher neutralises and eliminates unwanted smells naturally!

Natural hand sanitiser

  • 5-10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 30 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 1 Tablespoon witch hazel extract or high-proof vodka
  • 8 ounces 100% pure aloe vera gel
  • ¼ teaspoon Vitamin E oil– a natural preservative to increase shelf life (It will also help soften hands!)

Method: Mix essential oils and Vitamin E oil, then add the witch hazel or alcohol. Add aloe vera gel and store in an airtight container.

Top tip: Thanks to the natural preservative Vitamin E the sanitiser should last several months! If you don’t like the smell of lavender, replace with any other antibacterial oil such as rosemary, sage, sandalwood, or peppermint.

If you are interested in finding out more about what your cleaning products are made of, visit the Natural Collection website.